Thursday, October 22, 2009

Is South Africa ungrateful?

I was listening to BBC World Radio 1 this morning. The subject matter was that of Nigeria's rebranding exercise. It is a whole topic on its own and I will have top dedicate a post to it. However, what came out of the conversation rang a very loud bell in my ears. The Chairperson of the rebranding exercise was bitter that South Africans are an ungrateful lot. She argued with good reason that during the incarceration of Nelson Mandela and apartheid, Nigerian civil servants used to contribute their personal earnings to further the cause of South Africas' freedom, justice and equality for all. She also said that many of the South African freedom fighters were sheltered in Nigeria for long periods. Today, however, South Africans treat Nigerians like dirt.

I remember when I was still in Primary school in the 80s in Zimbabwe. Once a week we would sing songs of solidarity for our oppressed colleagues in South Africa. During our open days and parents' days, we would perfom dramas' of freedom, castigating the white oppressors of our friends in SA. It was emotional. I may need to remind you that Mugabe has always been an avid pan Africanist. Lets suspend the debates of what is happening in Zimbabwe now, for now. As such we felt at one with our brothers and sisters. When I got married, I had the fortune of staying in the very apartment that the former president of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki used to stay in. The apartment is at Gail Court, along samora Machel Avenue, close to Pinsau pub, for those that take the holy waters of babylon.

Today, each time I visit South Africa, I am saddened. I have never sought refuge in South Africa, and never will. But I feel so shaken by the ignorance that is displayed by the average South African, not only towards Zimbabweans seeking refuge there but towards any other African. The situation is particularly bad for West Africans' and in particular Nigerians. South Africans are of the view that they live in heaven. But they forget, that there is not a single African country that was independent that did not contribute towards their indepence. We all fought alongside them.

Isn't it time they were educated about this? Am I expecting too much?


  1. Pen Powder! It is called UNGRATEFULNESS. I still support them and I have a friend who never wore trousers till Mandela was released from Prison. when they wrote their history or when their history is being told to them they leave out the help other African countries offered them. Other than that how can we rationalise that stupid xenophobic attitude they put up, killing so many Africans, people who had supported them when they were in peril. They are simply ungrateful as you have put it.

    I am glad you re-echoed this. I listened to the interview on a friend's blog. Thanks for this.

  2. The idea of a politically united Africa, Pan-Africanism, has been around for over a hundred years. While the pan-african movement has been involved in anti-slavery and anti-colonial struggles and the fight against Apartheid South Africa, there has never been any significant movement towards a political unification. However, recent historical events, quite unexpectedly, may provide an impetus in this direction.